Monday, January 10, 2011

No-Win Situations

We are often plagued by the dilemma of what we ought to do versus what we want to do.  It paralyzes us.  The things we want to do would make us feel good, but also make us feel guilty.  The things we ought to do are unpleasant, but leave us guilt-free.

Although it can be such a difficult situation to be in, deciding which path to choose, the simple answer is to do what allows you to sleep at night.  If guilt will really bother you, then do what you ought to do so you feel better.

Life usually is that simple.  Suck it up and do what's right.  Life is so much easier that way.

Life is usually that simple, but it isn't always.  Sometimes doing the right thing can have some adverse effects.  Imagine the parent who gives up his food so that his child can eat.  It's a noble gesture.  It's what he ought to do.  But how often can he do it?

These are the people I'm interested in - the ones who, even when they do the right thing, are being harmed.  They are in a situation where both sides screw them over.  Being selfish is painful and being selfless is painful.  They are trapped and there is no good way to deal with it.  The best they can do is accept their fate and deal with it.

Sometimes there are no perfect answers, no simple fixes in life.  Sometimes you can only grin and bear it.  I am interested in these people as my subjects because they are my audience.  We have all been trapped and we have all somehow managed to live through it.  We don't always solve our problems, but we manage to outlive them.

People like this are not superhuman.  They are simply human.  And humans are compelling.  They're also interesting.

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